Richard Lischer, professor of preaching, Duke Divinity School: “It’s been 40 years since we have heard redemptive language in the political arena. Like Martin Luther King Jr., Obama did not flinch from addressing the lingering pain and anger of racism in America. Like King, Obama understands how questions of race are bound up with religion.
Get moving: Americans could cut carbon emissions by 64 million tons if they’d either walk or bicycle for 30 minutes a day instead of driving. They’d also collectively shed 3 billion pounds of excess fat in the process. Even more would be done for the environment if people gave up eating meat, since livestock production produces 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions (Sierra, March/April).
Two politically attuned professors in the South called the sharp rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright understandable in the context of an inner-city, largely black church, and both experts marveled at how political opponents seized upon the former pastor’s relationship to Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama.
Pope Benedict XVI’s baptism of an Egyptian-born formerly Muslim Italian journalist, known for being a strident critic of restrictions on religious freedom in Islamic countries, has been questioned by Muslim leaders in Italy.
Alistair Brown, general director of the British Baptists’ mission agency since 1996, will become the head of an American Baptist seminary, according to the Baptist World Alliance. Trustees of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago elected the Scottish-born Brown as president, to start in the fall semester.
When Senator Barack Obama faced the cameras in a nationally televised speech in mid-March, he was caught between his roles as politician and parishioner, forced to condemn his pastor’s words as he tried to advance his own campaign for president.
“The Church’s Unfinished Sexual Revolution” was the title of an article in the spring 2006 issue of Yale Divinity School’s Reflections magazine. In it longtime Christian ethicist James B. Nelson described some progress in church thinking about sexual ethics, but contended that the church’s agenda on sexuality remains “confusing, unsettled, unfinished.”
Research indicates that within the next 12 years, the number of Muslims worshiping at mosques in Britain will outstrip that of Catholics attending mass. According to London’s Daily Telegraph March 25, the study by Britain’s Christian Research organization estimates that the number of Catholics attending Sunday mass will have dropped to 679,000 by 2020.
Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president despite opposition from Focus on the Family leader James Dobson and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, traveled to New Orleans last month seeking support from conservative true believers.
Strange love: David Levy, an artificial-intelligence researcher from London, thinks the time is coming when humans will hook up with robots for love, sex and even marriage. "If the alternative is that you are lonely and sad and miserable, is it not better to find a robot that claims to love you and acts like it loves you?" he argues (Scientific American, March).